Over the summer I was visiting my newlywed pregnant friend’s apartment. I made a passing comment about painting the walls and she responded that it probably wasn’t worth it since they would only be living there two years. Why two years? Because she didn’t want her kids to have more than a two-year age gap, so by that time she’d be pregnant again and they’d need more space.
Her matter-of-factness sent me reeling. All I could think was, “You’re not even 22 yet and you’re already planning out your kid timeline?” And weirdly enough it’s not just her. Multiple people who I went to high school with, many of them with college degrees, have recently graduated, immediately gotten engaged and now have Babies on the Brain (or Buns in the Oven).
Maybe I’m crazy but I think they’re all nuts. I’ve decided that just because I’m a member of the Order of the Uterus doesn’t mean that I have to take advantage of all the privileges and activities that this membership implies. I want my uterus to remain vacant for a very very long time. As in, closed for business for all eternity.
Upon reading this, your first instinct might be to label me a child hater, but that simply isn’t true; I actually really like kids. Many of my summers have been spent wrangling children of various maturities, including the one summer when I nannied for four kids and had to field questions like “What’s a disco stick?” from seven year olds (“It’s that thing you use to play video games honey”).
But just because I like kids doesn’t mean I have to like them inside me. I don’t know what planet Baby Brainers came from, but in real life pregnancy doesn’t look fun (I’m sure you gentlemen are all nodding with me). There’s the puking your face out (or at least feeling like it), getting fat and buying an entirely new wardrobe to accommodate your fatness. The only upside I can see is that it gives you an excuse to stuff your face all the time, anytime. If only I had an excuse like that every time my housemates caught me in the middle of the night eating Nutella straight from the jar, that’d be great.
Then there’s the whole birth thing. Think about this for a second. There’s an object the size of a watermelon trying to force its way out of a hole the size of an orange, give or take. In no way does that sound fun or magical or even geometrically possible. And it’s not like there are rainbows or unicorns poppin’ out down there; what comes out is a squalling mini-gremlin that is about to sleep deprive you and your significant other for what seems like a very long time. And you can bet your secret booze fund that you’ll be feeding it after midnight. Multiple times.
Even being as critical as I am about the whole hit-me-with-a-fetus frenzy I can’t say I’m totally immune to the baby craze. One whiff of a baby — that fantastic combination of baby powder, baby lotion and possibly baby shampoo — and my first thought is I WANT ONE. I’ve taken Human Bonding. I know I’m biologically hardwired to be attracted to infants and their neotenous features and shit. Yet still I don’t plan on there being any little Sam Deans running around any time ever.
Let me clarify: I want to have kids someday, I just don’t want to have kids, biologically speaking. There’s just something about cranking out more children — there are already so many in the universe without families to love them or take them to Chuck E. Cheese or read them The Cat in the Hat — that seems like a giant dick move to me. Maybe because it is kind of is a dick move. Adoption essentially gets you all the perks of parenthood minus the stretchmarks, boob leakage and pants with an overabundance of elastic. It’s pretty much the best win-win ever.
Just as I’ve decided to adopt kids, I’ve also decided that adopting kids can wait a while. Call me a modern woman but unlike some of my kid-crazed friends I really want to enjoy my 20s and put my future Cornell degree to good use before I even think about adding mini-mes to the mix. More to the point, it weirds me out to think about hiring a babysitter when currently it’s me doing the babysitting.
For now, I think the best route for the whole lot of us is just to enjoy the art of making babies … minus the actual babies (use protection kids!). The oven will be there for a while; you can always get the buns later.
Sam Dean is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Casual WTFery appears alternate Thursdays this semester.